333 – Players’ Theatre – IDGTF – Review
by Gearóid O’Byrne
Date/Time: 14 May @ 14:30 (Matinees); 9-14 May @ 21:00 (Evenings);
Venue: Players’ Theatre @ Trinity College
Theatre Outre presents this new play from Canada, written by Jay Whitehead, which explores the events of 1981 when several bathhouses were brutally raided by police leading to one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. The resulting protests, rallies and demonstrations were credited with launching the Pride movement in Canada.
The story centres around Room 333 in one of the bathhouses and three characters whose lives were caught up in the raids. We meet an older unashamed queen, a younger man working part-time in the bathhouse and a closeted married teacher visiting the bathhouse for the first time while attending a conference in the city. The latter two begin to form an attachment over the evening however the raid violently intrudes on the evening and all three are brutally treated by the police with devastating consequences.
The after-effects are explored to see how each character reacts to the events and how it plays out in their lives. If the purpose of the raids was to shame the gay men involved, it devastated some men’s lives while in other cases it appears to have had the opposite effect of giving rise to anger, leading to rallies and demonstrations and the birth of the Pride movement.
With a simple set, the actors threw themselves into the roles with gusto, stripping off as necessary to demonstrate the liberation of bathhouse society for gay men. Inevitably there was a certain amount of stereotypical behaviour by all concerned, however, the play moved with pace to its conclusion. Overall, it was an interesting look at Canada’s “Stonewall” moment. See it this week at the Players’ Theatre TCD, Dublin.
All events for the final week of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival can be viewed and booked at http://www.gaytheatre.ie